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4.7 out of 5 stars16
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 April 2004
Basically, if you've read "All Quiet" then you must follow up with this book to fully realise the tragedy that WW1 brought to Europe. Whereas "All Quiet" focuses on the times during the war itself, "Road Back" concentrates on the aftermath and here is where things get a whole lot worse. Personally, this book is better than "All Quiet", as for me it highlighted the fuller sense of despair and hoplessness that remained, and which you would not totally understand by reading "All Quiet" alone. The book never fails to vividly describe the domestic devastation caused by the war, but the final two chapters and the epilogue are the most blisteringly intense I have ever read, and hammer Remarque's point home ferociously and faultlessly. It's essential reading if you've read "All Quiet"; it's an unfailingly vivid look on the havoc caused by WW1 in post-war society and in those who returned. Superb!
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on 17 August 1999
i have recently read All Quiet On The Western Front, Remarque's first novel. to follow it up, i have read The Road Back. to anyone who's read the first, the only way to give closure to the tough, touching story of Paul Baumer is to read the sequal- The Road Back. In it, a young soldier named Ernst and the few men left of his company come back home after 4 grueling years of the unspeakable horrors of military life in World War 1 only to discover that the world may no longer be at war, but there's still a war far more horrifical raging in their own hearts. They must now fight to fit back into society, and stay true to themselves and their dead comrades. In this story of lost youth and the fight for survival, Ernst and his friends fight to regain control of their shattered lives and go on in what seems to be an almost pointless existance, finding hope in the strangest places... And as Remarque once said, this is a story of 'a generation ruined by war'.
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on 16 July 1998
As with Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun", this book is beautiful and devastating. If only we had listened to Trumo's and Remarque's voices crying in the wilderness of the post-WWI years, we would have spared 60 million lives and our national soul as well. Read it and weep. Read it and work like hell to end war and war-making.
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on 12 June 2014
Like many who have left reviews I too came to The Road Back by way of All Quiet.
Like others I have wondered why The Road is not better known.

While lacking the physical horrors of All Quiet, The Road Back is a powerful work which hits many nails square on the head and holds every bit as much horror as its precursor albeit on a different level.

It can be hard on the emotions. Some sections read like poetry while others scream out to be quoted, carved on cliffs, sprayed on walls. Imprinted on the mind. Its message is as alive today as it was in the time it was written.

Bureaucracy grinds on. Vested interest reigns supreme. The players of the game consider themselves smart no matter how low in the food chain. In reality, all at every level mere pawns to be moved unwittingly on the board. Not an own man among them. The non players, there for no other purpose than to be used, herded and trampled on

It matters not from which side in the conflict the narrator frames his story.

People go hungry, dance halls proliferate, the racketeers grow fat, nothing changes.

Perhaps the reason this work is not so well known is that there are none who would bend you to their will who would wish you to receive its message.

Surf the net for a sensible price or get the Kindle version.
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on 14 April 2014
This sequel to All quiet on the Western Front is often, undeservedly, forgotton.

It describes the experiences of the survivors in a accessible yet intelligent manner.
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on 20 November 2012
The Road Back is a story told by one individual soldier as WW1 ends and the defeated army return to their homes. To a world where they can't fit in and can hardly understand.
The ongoing conflicts between the returning soldiers with their horror of what they have been through and those who have not seen it produces a harrowing book that really ought to be compulsory reading - particularly for Germans!
Having recently visited the Somme just after Armistice day, the image stays with me of the biggest German cemetery where the only wreath was from the British Legion.
The translation is old and pretty clunky - but you soon don't notice as the intensity of the book eats into you.
The collapse of the currency and the re-emergence of German militarism appear toward the end of the book and our knowledge of what happened next makes your blood run cold.
Maybe if more Germans had read it they would not be so keen now to put other European Countries to the economic sword in the way they appear to be doing.
But if more people had read it then Hitler would never have got where he did!
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on 16 January 2014
Although fictional, this is an honest and revealing account of the lasting damage of war on the surviving soldiers and the problems they face in trying to re-integrate with a society experienced as alien and trivial. This is as relevant today for Vietnam, Falklands, Gulf War, Afghanistan and other combat veterans as it was for returning German World War I soldiers (of whom the author was one in 1918). The final message, though, is not one of despair but of hope. First read Remarque's remarkable 'All Quiet on the Western Front'; then read this.
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on 16 September 2014
You have to read the first novel really, for this to make sense (though not essential I suppose). This was a case of, having read the first book, I needed to know more, and this was what the book provided. A real comment on the times, the indifference these 'heroes' faced on return to post-war Germany was surprising to read. Both books gave me a true insight into the horror of war and its destructive repercussions for individuals, families and society. A great book. Highly recommended.
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on 18 June 2015
A classic. If ever there was a clear picture of Germany on its knees after WW1, this is it. A wonderful book, sensitively written but direct. This author had his books publicly burned by the Nazis; he escaped their clutches. They then imprisoned his sister on some trumped-up charge and subsequently beheaded her. Not content with that, they charged the cost of her execution to another member of his family.
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on 19 August 2014
Read 'All quiet...' and then read this. Remarque is a remarkable writer and is a joy to read. I've probably said this before, but if you want to know what the First World War was really like, read the words of a novelist rather than those of a historian, and there is no one better than Remarque for telling it as it really was.
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